The Runner Sports

Are There Any Takeaways From USMNT’s Easy Win?

The United States Men’s National team began the long difficult road to World Cup Russia 2018 yesterday with an easy 6-1 victory over St. Vincent and the Grenadines in St. Louis.  The three points from the match should be a formality, but the USMNT came out flat and uninspiring.  The St. Vincent and the Grenadines squad came out strong and showed some grit going up 1-0 in the early going before being overwhelmed.  Against a squad composed of both semi-professional and amateur players, the USMNT should expect a scoreline of 6-1, but is it possible there is anything we could learn from this squad going forward into the undoubtedly more difficult match against Trinidad and Tobago?  Why yes, there are three takeaways that come to mind heading into the next match and further on into the hexagonal.

First, DeAndre Yedlin may not be ready to be crowned the obvious first choice right back.  I still prefer Fabian Johnson, the likely starter if a switch is to be made further up the field, but on the early goal Yedlin looked horrible so pulling Johnson back might be needed.  Yedlin has all the physical tools in the world, but it is easy to see how his lack of experience can result in costly errors.  Going into the attack Yedlin is a huge asset while defending and communication in defense still need improvement.  Against weak opponents, Yedlin’s defensive shortcomings aren’t a massive detriment, but against the stronger CONCACAF teams like Mexico, Yedlin will become a liability.

In my mind, Jurgen Klinsmann has two options and both involve Yedlin going forward.  His first option is to stick with Yedlin and center back Geoff Cameron to allow the two to build chemistry.  There will be bumps along the way as seen yesterday, but Yedlin will only improve with the experience of playing in matches both for club and country.  I prefer this tactic as the USMNT shouldn’t find qualifying for the World Cup a challenge, perhaps not placing first in the hexagonal, but qualifying all the same.  With the World Cup still almost two years away, Yedlin has ample time to grow, given he sees the field against high-level competition.  The second is that Klinsmann uses Johnson or even Cameron at right back against the high level CONCAFAF squads, similar to what was done against Mexico.  This would probably be a more stable situation for the short-term, allowing the U.S. to qualify for the World Cup with ease, but it doesn’t test and develop Yedlin into what he could become.  I’m in favor of sticking with Yedlin and seeing what we have.

The second takeaway from this match was Matt Miazga and Darlington Nagbe are offically cap tied.  This fact was just a formality as Miazga wouldn’t have been called into the game without the intention of capping him and Nagbe was always going to select the U.S. to play for, but it is nice to have it official.  We can now watch and enjoy seeing the 20-year-old develop with the New York Red Bulls.  With the Olympics coming up next summer and it being a U-23 contest, expect to see Miazga in the squad, providing they qualify against Columbia.  Neither player figured too heavily in the match as they both came on with the U.S. sporting a large lead.

The final takeaway has to be the need of the USMNT to come out in the match against Trinidad and Tobago much stronger.  St. Vincent and the Grenadines are the equivalent of a single A baseball team playing a major league team in the U.S. or perhaps worse, so the fact they even had a lead, if only for six minutes is worrying.  For the first ten minutes, St. Vincent looked like they could give the U.S. a match through well-timed counter attacks and resolute defending.  Again against T&T’s dangerous attack a slow start could lead to disaster.  Watch to see if Klinsmann changes up the lineup against T&T in an attempt to fix the slow start.  The qualifying cycle has just begun, enjoy the ride.

John Harbeck

Ohio sports and all things soccer.If you like my writing follow me @JHarbeck5 on twitter

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